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Posts Tagged ‘Nicaraguan’

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Size: 5×50, Robusto

Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca

Filler: Mixed Nicaraguan

Strength: Medium-Full

Price: Box of 20, $45.95 at Cigar.com

Score: 8.6

Inching closer and closer to burning through the 7 House Blends offered by Cigar.com, today we take a look at the Brazilian Label. The Brazilian is rolled by Tabacalera Fernandez and is the most recent addition to the House Blends. Sold in boxes of 20 and in 4 sizes, there are also several sampler options by size and House Blend variety. So far, we’ve reviewed the Blue, Purple, and Corojo.

In our reviews so far, we’ve noted consistency and great flavor profiles in what is surely a value-priced smoke. So, let’s see how the Brazilian matches up.

Appearance, 1.4:
The pre-light draw and aroma on the Brazilian is quite complex and very full. There is a sweet and pleasant espresso with a slight spicy undertone at the foot. The rest of the stick has a medium-full roasted aroma with thick and creamy notes of cocoa. The wrapper is quite moist with a few soft spots, though packed very well at the foot. The overall exterior is rugged, with raised veins and a leathery texture. Though the head is triple capped, there is not much more to speak of on the exterior. The green and yellow band are simple and pop well from the dark wrapper. The pre-light draw creates a very unique taste—a bit of a dry rub on the tongue that I haven’t experienced before. It has a very solid draw and appears to be a very interesting smoke.

Burn, 1.7:
The Brazilian lit very well and created a fairly straight edge throughout. As I’ve experienced with all of the Cigar.com House Blends, the burn on this cigar is quick, really quick! The Brazilian released a great cloud of smoke that smelled excellent; it reminded me of the sweet smell emitted from melting chocolate over a campfire. The ash started off very poorly with a big split down the middle. Once I ashed at the one inch mark it corrected itself and burned great.

Flavor, 2.7:
Up front there was a fairly strong shot of pepper with a bit of body to accompany it—the Brazilian introduces itself well. The dryness picked up on the pre-light continued throughout the smoke and the finish reminded me of the smell from wet lumber. There were a lot of wood notes in both texture and flavor, with cedar and other earthy flavors taking over the early notes of spice. I only picked up the sweetness when exhaling through my nose, which complemented the other flavors very well. Overall, this was a very rustic smoke that had excellent complexity and a medium-full body.

Overall, 2.8:
As has been my experience with the other Cigar.com House Blends, the Brazilian delivered in the flavor and burn departments—a very consistent smoke. The flavor profiles were very interesting, though I was a bit distracted by the dry finish at times. This is the classic story of the ugly duckling, where the inside is what matters. At around $2 a stick this is going to be hard to beat.

(Total: 8.6)

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Size: 6×50, Toro

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Dominican Republic

Filler: Cuban-seed Seco, Ligero, Olor Dominicano, and Nicaraguan

Strength: Mild-Medium

Price: Box of 20, $115.99

Grade: 8.1

Flatbed Cigar Company recently sent us their two blends, the Panacea Black (Natural) and the Red. After sitting for about 6 weeks, I decided to fire up the Black.

Flatbed is headquartered in Pennsylvania and they describe their business plan as being very simple: get the best rollers, make a bunch of blends, have a lot of people sample them, and pick a couple blends out of the lot to go forward with. This approach created the Panacea Black, in the Natural and Maduro, and the Pancea Red, which was recently released. Flatbed was formed nearly three years ago, with the Black being released in October of 2007. Primarily distributed in the North East, the Panacea has made its way into over 40 stores and are working to reach other regions. Though based in Pennsylvania, their factory is located in the Dominican Republic. Give them a visit here.

Now, on to the review of the Panacea Black.

Appearance, 1.8:
The Black has a nice exterior and is packed tightly without any soft spots—it seemed that it may have even been over packed but the nice draw proved me wrong. It had a clean tobacco scent dominated by a barnyard smell with the slightest bit of mint. The band is a very clean black and gold—it neither detracts from nor highlights the overall appearance of the stick. The band did however conceal a very slight tear in the wrapper where it appears the roll didn’t properly match, leaving a slight gap in the roll. Overall, the Black has a clean appearance despite some oddly matching vein patterns.

Burn, 1.9:
The biggest highlight of this stick was the burn. The draw opened up as the stick progressed and by the 2/3 mark it had an excellent pull with a nice thick cloud of smoke exuding from each exhale. The ash also held very well and was a nice white that stacked well atop a clean burn line. The Black did not require any touch-ups or re-lights.

Flavor, 2.1:
By far the greatest deduction, the flavor profile on this stick was bad. The problem was the aftertaste. The overall flavor on this stick was what you would expect from a mild-medium Connecticut—nice barnyard notes with a moderate amount of creaminess. There was also a bit of pepper on the finish which was nice. However, by the 2/3 mark on this cigar, the bitterness and harshness was overwhelming—it even tasted a bit sour. Having allowed the stick to rest for 6 weeks prior to smoking, I was very surprised by the aftertaste. My review partner experienced the same aftertaste when he smoked the other Black we received.

Overall, 2.3:
I was disappointed with the Black for several reasons; it carries a decent price point, at around $5.79, and the appearance and burn is very solid, which made me hope for a great experience. The flavor of this cigar fell completely flat and bore one of the worst aftertastes I’ve ever had in a handmade. My only suggestion is to let these rest 6 months or more and see if the flavor improves. I don’t have any of these left, nor do I plan to buy more, so I will not be able to participate in the wait and see experiment. I can’t recommend this cigar for purchase unless you find a deal on it and have no problem letting it sit for a while.

(Total: 8.1)

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Size: Robusto, 5.5×55 (Apotheosis, Box Pressed)

Wrapper: Costa Rican, Maduro

Filler: Mixed long filler of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran (Aged 4 years)

Strength: Full

Price: Box of 10, $45.00

Grade: 8.7

Being a fan of the 5 Vegas Classic and Gold Double Nickel, I was really looking forward to trying out the full bodied offering from 5 Vegas (You may see my review on the Gold here). The Series A comes in an amazing 9 different shapes; ring gauges range from 44 to 58 and the length from 4.5 to 7. I grabbed these sticks from cigarbid.com at a great price and they’ve been resting for a few months; so let’s get to it!

Appearance 1.8:
The box press on this smoke is very nice and, coupled with the dark oily wrapper, it really is appealing to the eye. The cigar was firm to the touch and besides a little filler extending past the wrapper, it was perfect in construction. The black and gold label is a wonderful combo with the dark maduro wrapper. The pre-light aroma was of mocha and leather with some barnyard notes toward the foot. The cold draw produced notes of sweet tobacco with a cinnamon spice on the end.  By now my mouth was watering and I was ready to fire this stick up!

Burn, 1.7:
The Series A cut, toasted, and lit well, with the first draw producing a nice amount of fragrant smoke. The smoke burned evenly throughout with no touch ups or re-lights required. The deduction in this category is a result of the ash not holding longer than about ½ inch. This corrected itself towards the end of the smoke but for the first half it was constantly falling off and this resulted in a somewhat warmer smoke than I expected.

Flavor, 2.5:
Roasted nuts and coffee really hit me on the first draw of this smoke. I expected a shot of spice because of the pre-light draw, but it never showed up. The first third was very tasteful with notes of roasted nuts and cocoa; there was a hint of spice on the end but not cinnamon—it was more of a roasted pepper spice.  The second third produced more notes of the mentioned spice, but the cigar soured a little bit in this part which was disappointing. The last third of the smoke opened back up into notes resembling the first third, but with some fruitiness showing up on the finish. I should also mention this is a full bodied smoke.

Overall, 2.7:
At a price of $4.50 a stick, this is a good buy for the money.  Though not the most complex stogie on the market, it would be a great everyday smoke for those that seek out full bodied offerings. The flavor profile was interesting and, if not for the second third, it would have been excellent. All in all I’ve liked every 5 Vegas smoke I have ever had; this is a good smoke for a good price, which is what we are all looking for, right?

(Total: 8.7)

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Let’s get this out of the way: I am not a big fan of flavored cigars. Since moving on from Swisher Sweets and Black n Milds years and years ago, I haven’t craved a flavored cigar. However, my dad loves them. After dinner at my folk’s, I started digging through his humidor. It was full of the CAO flavor line, Tabak Especial, his remaining Kahlua’s, other cheap flavored sticks he is trying out, a few nice non-flavored he is saving. After fighting off the temptation to steal his only Decade, I picked up the Isla del Sol, his latest attempt at finding a lower-priced daily smoke.

The Isla del Sol is produced by Drew Estate, of ACID fame, and conceals Nicaraguan filler with a Sumatran wrapper. Each filler leaf is infused with Sumatran Mandheling coffee beans. It is a value smoke and a box of 20 can be purchased for under $50.

The appearance on this stick is pretty solid; the draw was perfect and the ash was a nice whitish-gray, though it fell at the one inch mark. The sweet flavor is very strong on the lips but luckily for me the flavor is not as strong during the smoke as it is on the lips. I definitely detected hints of coffee but I also detected strong flavors of vanilla. The smoke was squishy to the touch but did not burn fast or hot.

This was a decent smoke; I was kind of looking forward to it being finished though and if I wasn’t having a good time outside with my family, I probably would not have burned it as long as I did. My son came outside when I was about 2/3 through it and I put it down happily. But, if you like flavored cigars and are looking for a value, I’m told this would be right up your alley; my dad loves it, if that helps any!

Single Worthy: YES
Box Worthy: NO
Grade: C-

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Size: 5.75×56, Salomon

Wrapper: Two wrappers, Habano (outside) and Ecuadorian Connecticut (inside, binder)

Filler: Mix of Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Cameroon

Strength: Medium-Full

Price: $7.25, single; $119, box

Grade: 8.8

I would put Rocky Patel’s Vintage line up against just about any line of cigars out there. The 1990, 1992, and 1999 Connecticut are three of my favorite smokes. So, when Rocky released the Fusion, a mixture of the fillers used to comprise the ’90 and the ’92, I was excited to fire one up. On a spending freeze with a new baby, it took me a bit longer than I expected to grab one but Jed was nice enough to slide one my way.

The uniqueness of this stick lies in its use of a double wrapper; combining a Habano exterior with an Ecuadorian Connecticut interior wrapper, used as the binder, promises to create some unique and powerful flavors. The filler mix has also received nice praise.

Appearance, 1.9:IMG_3463
The Salomon is a very unique roll; it has a Torpedo head with a funneled or tailed foot. This is a fun roll that also creates a unique ash and a bit of conversation. The Habano wrapper is very clean and smooth with minimal veins. As with most Rocky Patel’s, the Fusion is elegantly double banded. The stick has a great weight to it as well, with the 56 ring gauge. The only exterior defect is a slight wrapper gap toward the foot, where it appears the roll fell short.

The aroma on this stick is very nice and unique; it is quite sweet but also has a peppery scent that burns the nose. The mixture of sweetness and pepper is most closely described as roasted peppers or salsa. The pre-light draw is excellent and the cut is very clean.

Burn, 1.8:
The pre-light draw was excellent and the smoke certainly reflects this with billows of thick smoke. The ash created by the uniquely shaped Salomon foot created a very clean and arrowed ash. The ash stacked well, except for a slight flaking in the first inch, and was a very clean whitish grey. The transition from the tailed foot into the body of the smoke was smooth, which I was a little worried about before lighting. The smoke was very thick and burned very cool throughout. The only issue I had with the burn was after the first ash, in which the cigar’s draw tightened and eventually went out. It re-lit with no issues however and burned very well throughout, with no harshness in the re-light.

Flavor/taste, 2.7:
There is a very strong pepper in the first 5 puffs or so, announcing well the medium-full body, which eventually fades into a very mellow, hay-like flavor. This continues throughout the first third of the smoke, with minimal flavor profiles. In the second third of the smoke, the pepper forcefully returns and is nicely complemented by a creaminess; these two flavors alongside each other resembles the roasted pepper detected in the pre-light draw and aroma. The final third maintains solid body and remains creamy and the pepper is replaced by the return of barnyard flavors. Overall, this was a stick with several transitions, each of which interested my palate.

Overall, 2.4:IMG_3451
I struggled a bit with this cigar because I love the flavor profiles and complexity found in Rocky’s cigars but I also prefer a Medium bodied smoke and the Fusion, along with the large Salomon size, was a bit much for my strength preference; I actually began to sweat a bit during this one! There was a deduction based on the value of this smoke and the overall enjoyment and desire to buy again. I would definitely purchase another Fusion, in a smaller size, but I would not consider a box purchase, even if it dropped to around $80-90.

(Total: 8.8)

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Size: Robusto, 5×52

Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan

Strength: Full

Price: Box of 20, $110

Grade: 8.7

The Lx2 had a lot of buzz when it first came out; I picked one up at my local shop and let it rest for about six months. The Lx2 is slammed full of ligero, the highest priming on a tobacco plant. This portion of the plant receives the most sunlight and produces a dark and thick leaf that is stronger and more flavorful. Here is CAO’s word on the powerhouse:

CAO Lx2 (“Ligero Times Two”) is the third and final installment to the CAO “x2” trilogy. This ligero-heavy powerhouse possesses a full-bodied flavor profile and was inspired by tobacco grown on the 140-acre “Pueblo Nuevo” farm located just outside of Condega, Nicaragua.

CAO Lx2 features a sungrown Nicaraguan wrapper, Honduran binder, and three different ligero fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

CAO Lx2 boasts a bold, muscular structure but also shows flavors of bittersweet chocolate, paprika, and woody tobacco notes that fan out superbly on the palate. Available in three shapes, CAO Lx2 cigars have been draw-tested to ensure a consistently flawless smoke.

You can learn a bit more here. Let’s get to it, shall we…

Appearance 1.8:
The dark chocolate wrapper on this smoke is very appealing. The texture is smooth and the cigar is very firm with good weight. The label is very eye-catching and really draws you in with its double banding. The cap was a little rugged but when cut it came off very clean. The pre-light aroma was that of cocoa along with the clean smell of dark tobacco; the foot had an aroma of hay. The cold draw followed the above profile with some spice, but the barnyard was not present in the cold draw.

Burn 1.5:
The Lx2 lit well but, as far as burn goes, it was downhill from there. The ash did not hold past ¾ inch, and I had to re-light going into the 2/3 and the cigar starting flowering into the 3/3 mark. The draw was also very tight throughout the smoke, though it did loosen a bit when reaching the 3/3 mark—however, it was never comfortable and required consistent thought and work. This is the biggest point deduction for this smoke and a better burn would have marked this cigar a 9.0+.

Flavor 2.8:
As to be expected, the Lx2 was very flavorful. The first puff produced notes of green pepper and smoothed out into a earthy tobacco profile with a cocoa finish. About halfway through the first third, I picked up a nutty flavor on the finish coupled with the continuing cocoa, which was quite nice! The second-third of the Lx2 continued to smooth out and notes of fresh cut grass seemed to jump out at me. There was also some mint on the finish. The final third returned to a more pronounced earthy tobacco taste with a caramel type finish. The smoke was very complex and I enjoyed the transition in the smoke.

Overall 2.6:
The complexity of this smoke makes it a good value at around $6 a stick, but the burn issues really detracted from the enjoyment of the stick. I am going to pick up another one the next time I see it in a shop and I will re-review to see if the burn issues are consistent or if I just got a bad one. Overall, a very interesting and engaging smoke.

(Total: 8.7)

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The last mild bodied Gurkha I smoked was the Symphony and I was thoroughly disappointed. The Turk offers some of the same mild bodied notes so I was hoping this stick would redeem the Symphony. The double-band circled a smooth and well-rolled Toro-shaped stick. The pre-light odor was of hay and the draw was very good.

Lighting the Turk produced a thick cloud of smoke and a hint of sweetness of the first draw. Unfortunately, the sweet taste did not remain as it turned to the pre-light smell of hay and nuttiness. This stick lacked any complexity, which was a great disappointment considering the filler is a mixture of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Turkish tobaccos. The mixture, if anything, seemed to drown out the potential of any one tobacco’s flavor.

The smoke remained thick and the ash held well throughout the stick but the lack of taste caused this to be a difficult stick to enjoy. This was a purely mild smoke yet a bitter bite remained in the back of my throat from the first third forward.

At $9 a stick, I would have been angered were this not gifted; this may well be my last mild Gurkha. I have a few medium-full Gurkha’s that will hopefully redeem their mild offerings.

Single Worthy: NO
Box Worthy: NO
Grade: C-

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